1. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    An atypical resolution

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by izzybot, Aug 8, 2016.

    So, my urban fantasy novel follows an mc who suspects there’s something supernaturally wrong with her, and catches up to her on the tail end of months worth of searching and trying to figure out what it could be. One main thread of the story is the idea that she’s delusional and hallucinating rather than encountering magic stuff, and another concerns her trust/intimacy issues (having spent so long with people - including her family - thinking she’s crazy, she’s not too great at interpersonal relationships). Of course, though, her explicit main quest is to find out what's up with her.

    Through the course of the story, she relearns how to trust people and obtains proof that the magical things aren’t just in her head, but doesn’t actually find out that main thing. She gets some hints about it and finishes the book armed with her first ever concrete lead, the mental stability to pursue it, and a group of friends to support her. Obviously my intention is to write a sequel in which she would finally get her answers, but I want the first book to be strong enough to stand on its own and I’m worried that not actually completing the ‘main quest’ makes it kind of weak.

    The thing is I’m wanting to aim for an admittedly cheesy “the real treasure was the friends you made along the way!” type moral - not letting her finish the quest is part of the point. Plus, I want exploring the answers she gets in the second book and the repercussions of them to be a major part of it, not a resolution in itself, so I can’t really tack it onto the end of the first book.

    What I guess I’m looking for is opinions on whether or not this seems feasible? While the mc’s main goal is to find out what she is / what’s wrong with her, the narrative itself mainly focuses on the mental health and interpersonal relationships aspects of the plot, using the magical stuff as window dressing, so my feeling is that while her intended goal might not be reached, the narrative’s implicit goal of seeing her healthy and happy will be, and that should be enough for a satisfying ending (albeit one with a hook for the next book).

    Disclaimer: While I’ll probably try for traditional publishing, my heart’s not set on it, so I’m not too concerned about what this structure will mean to prospective agents/publishers. I’m more concerned about prospective readers feeling like there was no real resolution or the entire book was just sequel bait.
     
  2. Ryan Elder
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    Ryan Elder Contributing Member

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    Lots of endings do this in stories though, where the MC will not reach her/his goal, but she finds out something more important about herself along the way. Is that what you are going for?
     
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  3. IHaveNoName
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    IHaveNoName Active Member

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    As long as there's some kind of resolution/advancement (like what you've got), I'd be fine with it. In this day and age, urban fantasy novels are usually part of a series, so I wouldn't expect to see her completely wrap things up by the end of Book 1.
     
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  4. Lifeline
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    Lifeline The Dark - not in Wonderland Supporter Contributor

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    As long as part one was really well written it wouldn't bother me. It reads like an interesting plot all on its own. Maybe make sure that the focus shifts slightly through the pages, from the quest to the friends?

    Yet I think you have to be careful with the book blurb (the things which are written on the backcover, I hope 'blurb' is the right word). I as a reader get very irritated if the blurb doesn't deliver what it says. Just my five cents. By the way, this reads like a real interesting premise :)
     
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  5. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    There has to be a really strong internal story arc where the main character learns to trust her own sanity, even when no one else validates her. This "character-based" plot has to be strong enough that people will care about it for itself, to the point of seeing it as more important than the magic mystery.

    I would recommend reading some books by Laurie Halse Anderson, especially her more serious ones like Speak and Wintergirls. She's very skilled at compelling, moving stories that are driven by a character's internal strength journey rather than external events. Also, have you read "Game of Thrones?" (The actual books, not just watching the shows). The magic is there in small doses and it's fascinating, but the character arcs are so compelling that we actually care more about the human-driven parts than the magic.
     
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  6. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Y'know, somehow I hadn't really thought of it that way, and that does a lot to put my mind at ease.

    Thanks for the responses, folks!
     

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